You began working on “Conquest 3000” in 2019. December of 2020 saw the title track of the album released. What were your plans for the album and what were you trying to do differently with this release than what you’ve released in the past?
Mach Fox: The first album Be A Light was mostly a solo effort for the writing, recording and production so I had already decided I wanted to try working with others on the next album and since Planktoon had done some really great remixes from that album I approached him about producing the songs for the next album with me before anything was written.
With the addition of Dbot on bass guitar in late 2018 I knew we could expand our style and sound and I wanted him to be more involved in the direction of the songs for the new album so we decided to work on some demos together that we could hand off to Planktoon for further production. Dbot provided me with instrumental demos which all had inspiring titles that drove the lyrics into a bit of a story I could weave into a concept album so that was when the theme of the Conquest 3000 album was born.
In the summer of 2019 as we worked on those demos we also added Dein Offizier on drums and I knew that I wanted the album to be much more of a band effort with the live band featured heavily on these recordings. While I was writing and editing the recordings that would become the new album I realized I could still hold onto the minimal hypnotic elements I had already established for the band even as the new sound was developing. My intention and priority for Zwaremachine was always to be known for a live band and have our albums reflect our live performance sound while we give a nod to certain genres but also try to make something unique. I also made the decision to do the final mixes and mastering for this album at a professional studio to see what others could bring to the process.
You took a trip prior to the pandemic to the Netherlands to record drums as that’s where your percussionist lives. Why did you want to be in person for this rather than connecting over the internet?
Mach Fox: The decision was made mostly since Dein Offizier had no way to record his drum parts and send files. I also wanted to be present to rehearse and work with him on those parts for the album tracks as we recorded them together in the same room. Sending files can work for some collaborations but I find it rather difficult to work on the writing process that way and just prefer to be in the same room as much as possible for the immediacy of ideas and feedback.
Sliptrick Records re-released “Be A Light” on June 9th, 2020. You had planned shows to support the re-release. Unfortunately, the pandemic hit and that was cancelled. Was this a major moral downer for Zwaremachine? If not, how did you fight through it?
Mach Fox: We had gained some momentum with tours in U.S. and Europe after Be A Light was released and the band was really looking forward to those upcoming release shows for not only the Be A Light(Special Edition) re-issue but the Ripping At The Fabric EP which came out on your very own Brutal Resonance Records. We were planning a small tour in Europe around those release show dates and since all travel was cancelled we chose to have a livestream release show event with Dj Kitty at De Oefenbunker landgraaf in the Netherlands where she played tracks from both releases. We still hope to present these songs from both of those releases and the new album Conquest 3000 live in the near future.
You released “Ripping at the Fabric” on our humble little label. However, the songs are being remixed and remastered for release on “Conquest 3000”. What made you want to rework these tracks? What did you do differently with them?
Mach Fox: Those EP tracks were a collaboration between myself and D.Corri early in 2020 and came together rather quickly during the time I was waiting for Planktoon and Dbot to continue our production and writing on the Conquest 3000 tracks. I decided it would be easiest to work on the new EP tracks myself and not add more work for Dbot and Planktoon at that time which could slow down production of the Conquest 3000 album. The songs on Ripping At The Fabric EP had a certain EBM edge and angst that the band and fans liked and we decided they would fit well in our live set so it made sense to add the bass guitar and drums so that those songs could be used on the new album as well.
It was a great honor to release that EP on cassette and digital as the first release for your Brutal Resonance Records label but we also felt the songs deserved a bit more exposure and thought they could fit well with the newer songs as well. We also found that DJs were adding tracks from that EP to their sets and with the new mixes we made we were able to make sure they would get some extra attention for the large PA and dancefloor impact.
I’m not in a hurry to pump out more releases before something we release has proper time to get out there and be heard and seen performed live and resonate with people. Since we release most of our stuff independently or on smaller labels that can take some time and by giving those EP tracks a fresh mix we could present them to a wider audience on the new record.
You have also released a second single off of the album, titled ‘Zero Containment’. However, it has only been released as a video on YouTube for the time being. Do you have plans to bring it out as a digital single with remixes attached?
Mach Fox: We do have several remixes for the songs on the new album that have been submitted but wanted to concentrate on releasing the album without remixes first. We will then take some time to sort through those remixes and see how we can best release them whether it is a remix EP or digital singles with remixes is yet to be seen. I do like the idea of the digital single with remixes since those would be available as single tracks for DJs and fans who may want specific versions.
You have some remixes planned for the album, but none have been noted yet. Can you tell us who we can expect to appear on the album? Or is that all a secret as of right now?
Mach Fox: There will be no remixes included on the Conquest 3000 album but we will be considering which to release for the future. I don’t want to name the remixers just yet as we still have to determine which ones we release.
During the pandemic, you did a couple of livestreams in 2020 and 2021. Were these well received? Now that the world is opening back up, are you going to continue to do live streams?
Mach Fox: I doubt we will continue livestream sets since my main goal is to have all 3 of us together to perform songs from the recent releases. I hesitated to join the livestreams at first and we turned several down initially since we were not able to perform as the full band lineup with one member being in the Netherlands and 2 of us in U.S. but since I formed the band as a live performance vehicle I started looking into ways we could pull it off. The split screen with band members performing from different locations did not appeal to me for many reasons like sync and tech issues but I figured since I was a VJ and video artist I might be able to pull something off with our drummer being shown on the screens behind us.
For our livestream sets I decided to stack up a bunch of CRTs which we had been using for tours and live shows and added some flat panel screens and lighting to make a stage set in my small studio. Over the course of several livestreams I was able to make many improvements and I’m proud of the sets we streamed but also noted that it has not fully represented the explosive way we can perform live as a trio when we can all interact. In the playback of the stream I can notice I am not fully engaged as I would be if we were on stage in front of a crowd as I’m constantly keeping an eye on the audio recording, switching cameras, lights and video.
We got great feedback and comments about those sets and appreciate all the great hosts, DJs and bands we performed with. If you saw and liked any of those livestream performances we did, you will really enjoy our set in a venue or at a festival with a large PA system so talk to bookers in your area now to get us to your city!
I heard that you’re working on a new project but there is some secrecy surrounding it. Can you tell us anything about it or are you keeping it locked away tight?
Mach Fox: I think you are talking about Fox Nova Project which was recently mentioned as a secret side project on social media and we have just started teasing with a bit of audio and video in recent announcement. This collaboration between myself and Craig Saunders(Nova State Machine/Novakill) is going to debut a 4 song EP and some remixes later this summer. I knew of Novakill from several years ago and they were always one of the more aggressive electronic bands I liked from that period and they also had released some really great VST instruments I used to use when I was remixing heavily. I noticed Craig was on social media and contacted him about remixing for Zwaremachine and one of the instrumental remixes he proposed for us was inspiring so I offered to do some original vocals and pursue as possible collaboration track. Things just sort of clicked and it was easy and effortless to work together so we quickly decided to make an EP together.
I am excited for this project as it’s a bit of a chance for both of us to step away from our main bands styles but still show our own influences and introduce a new sound to fans of both bands. I even had to get out the guitar for some tracks as we worked on a bit of experimental rock electronic together. It also sounds a bit dangerous and tense so look out for this one!
What else do you have planned for 2020 and 2021? Do you have any other EPs, singles, or remixes planned? Any live shows?
Mach Fox: Right now Zwaremachine is concentrating on the release of the Conquest 3000 album which comes out JULY 17th via Phage Tapes and discussing some ideas for videos to shoot for that release. We are still waiting for international travel to open up before we plan on any live shows or tours and it’s hard to even say if the next shows will be in the U.S. or Europe first. We will be sure to announce any of those plans on social media when confirmed!
I have also been doing some remix/edits and production for other artists and will continue that as well as working on several unreleased Zwaremachine covers and tracks.
Lastly, I’d like to thank you for your time. I wish you the best of luck with the new release and I leave the space below open for anything I may have failed to mention.
Mach Fox: It’s always a pleasure to chat with you and Brutal Resonance and we thank you and the fans for all the support and hope you enjoy the new Zwaremachine record.